UPS's (Uninterruptible Power Supplies). . .

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by RonHebbard, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    With our current lighting and sound consoles in mind; coupled with real men speaking with their AK47's, once you've reached the point of having a UPS or two in your booth(s) to power your lighting and sound consoles in the event of power outages, you perhaps might consider also powering your wired or wireless production intercommunication system(s) from your UPS's. In the event of a power failure, fire alarm, any / other potentially panic inducing situations it's ALWAYS good to maintain communications between your SM, crew and FOH manager with the goal of maintaining calm and safe behaviors on the part of all.
    If your UPS is butch enough, having your God mic and its amplifier(s) on your UPS would be a FABULOUS notion from the POV of informing patrons of your plans and intentions. You don't have to think long to envision various scenarios where having your ClearCom and God mic systems operating during power outages etcetera would not only be a good idea but would likely please your ensurers and Fire Marshals too.
    @dvsDave and moderators; I considered posting this in several of our other sub-forums but most of the appropriate forums currently had useful / informative posts on top while this (to me) appeared a forum due for bumping.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  2. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    It is the tragic truth that Ron's post is right on the money.
    Even if you are not expecting an attack, the concept of having communications and a God mic on a backup system is a very good idea. Blackouts do happen, and although there are emergency backup light systems in place in almost all venues (should be all, but you know how that goes), there is still the need to communicate. For example, middle of a show and the lights go out... emergency lights come on, but your audience members don't know whats going on. Is it a blackout? Is it a fire? Is it some crazy with a gun? It's nice to be able to tell people that everything is ok and that you just lost power. In the event that everything is not ok, it's nice to be able to give some instructions via a working sound system. That will only happen if the sound system still has power, or a smaller sound system that is running on backup power.
     
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  3. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    The reason to have your intercoms on a UPS - you need your coms to figure out why/where you lost power. UPSs to have consoles stay on to ride out a brief interruption and give you time for a safe shut down is icing on the cake.

    Emergency voice warning is covered by life safety codes, I think. Bill C?
     
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  4. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    That, and to coordinate with your crew/FOH staff on when/if you're going to evacuate the audience, what to tell the actors backstage, etc.

    I'm not sure about other venues, but our fire alarm also features a prerecorded voice which uses the fire alarm horns (speakers) for annunciation. The fire alarm panels I've seen have battery backups for running the strobes/horns during a loss of power, so it's my big assumption that our pre-recorded voice warning would continue working through a power outage. In addition, there is a mic in the box office that allows live speech through this same system. So, while I'm not sure how unique our system is, it might be one of those things that is built in to the fire alarm cabinet for others as well.
     
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  5. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Worth noting that most AHJ's require you to kill the PA system during a fire alarm, whether that's a fire alarm contact into your DSP that mutes all outputs or going so far as to shunt trip your AV panelboard off. There are ways of getting around that but a God mic may or may not be something everyone can use in all circumstances.

    Ability to trigger a fire alarm is becoming a very touchy subject. Most of my K12 projects are killing off their pull stations because of the tendency of active shooters to use it as a way to funnel people toward the exits. In general, throughout the schools now if you want to trigger an alarm you have to call the main office and have them pull the alarm, but the exception is in the large assemblies like the gym, cafeteria, and theater, where it could take too long for a sprinkler head, heat detector, or such to trigger. Those are becoming the only spaces that have publicly accessible pull stations. Pull stations that could, by design and by AHJ requirement, kill your sound system.

    However, as indicated below, there are ways/requirements for utilizing your sound system as a means of live voice communication, and ultimately you must work this out with your AHJ that they will permit such use. Depending on the size of your room, how your staff is trained/located, and what kind of voice evac system you may have in place, a strategically located bullhorn may be advisable instead or in addition. Nice thing about about a bullhorn is it allows you to make announcements in the lobby and outside as well after people have exited the building. Also fewer moving parts that could risk you being unable to make announcements. You have no idea how many people find out their stuff is plugged into the "Surge Only" side of their UPS only after the power has gone out.


    NFPA 101 Life Safety Code live announcement requirements

    upload_2019-8-9_14-47-35.png

    upload_2019-8-10_2-30-7.png

    upload_2019-8-10_2-31-18.png


    Edit: fixed broken images
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
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  6. Ben Stiegler

    Ben Stiegler Active Member

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    Given active speakers and the large number of points in a signal chain that must remain powered, I favor keeping a smaller separate voice only system ( perhaps your last gen speakers) running on a very efficient class D amp on a UPS ... plus the afore mentioned bullhorn for mobile sheparding, tho it’s hard to get much coverage if the user is st ground level with the crowd
     
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  7. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    I donxt like the one recorded announcement for all emergencies nor the person in the box office managing emergency occupant movement. In a real emergency it would be much better to have someone on stage who can see whats happening direct the occupants using a properly designed house sound system.
     
  8. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    You're not wrong. It satisfies the AHJ, but I have a hard time getting FOH on the same page as it is, as they don't seem interested in being active participants once the show starts. I'm having trouble just getting a ClearCom in the box office. Management is for it, staff says they won't use it. All I want to do is streamline communication on when the lobby is clear, etc. So God forbid there's a real emergency. Stage Managers are volunteers who seem to follow their own individual sets of standards, so that's something we have to tackle as well. Lines of communication and chain-of-command type stuff.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
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  9. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    Consoles and electronics on a UPS, with amplifiers and regular (house) lighting circuits on an automatic generator would likely be the easiest instead of trying to add a powerwall to your vanue
     
  10. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    The Life Safety Code requires trained crowd managers in this assembly event - 1 per 200 occupants iirc. If they are trained they will take measures to be sure they can communicate with the occupants in an emergency. If they are not, they and their employers - ultimately the building owner - will quite possibly be found negligent.
     
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  11. tschnuckel

    tschnuckel Member

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    Excuse my ignorance, but what qualifies as a trained crowd manager, and how do you become one? I'm not up on these codes like I should be. Is there some further reading?
     
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  12. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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  13. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    Event Safety Guide is about US$27. Your "north of Donald's walls" pricing is unfortunately high. As a member of the Event Safety Alliance I got my copy with my membership.

    If you have a Wayback Machine you might find the draft copy was released as a PDF.
     
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  14. Malabaristo

    Malabaristo Well-Known Member

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    The fire alarm mute for the sound system makes a certain amount of sense... I didn't realize it was potentially code/AHJ mandated. In my system I added a "god mic" input that goes straight to the DSP, but is patchable to any of the mic lines in the space so you can put that mic wherever the stage manager (or other appropriate person) is for any given show. In the DSP I use a ducker to mute all other inputs whenever someone speaks into the god mic (which has a switch on it to avoid accidental triggering). We do have a fire alarm trigger on the DSP, and when I added the god mic I made it so that's the one thing the fire alarm does not mute. That means you still automatically kill all production sound, but don't remove the option of using the PA system for an announcement. Seems like the best of both worlds to me, but it sounds like I should run it past the fire marshal at some point just to make sure everyone's happy.

    And, of course, none of this is on emergency power, so we're left with having someone yell if we want to make an announcement during a power failure. At least the egress lighting is in order, so we won't have to do it in the dark.
     
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  15. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Here is verbiage from the Life Safety Code:

    12.7.6 Crowd Managers.
    12.7.6.1 Assembly occupancies shall be provided with a minimum
    of one trained crowd manager or crowd manager supervisor.
    Where the occupant load exceeds 250, additional trained
    crowd managers or crowd manager supervisors shall be provided
    at a ratio of one crowd manager or crowd manager supervisor for
    every 250 occupants, unless otherwise permitted by one of the
    following:
    (1) This requirement shall not apply to assembly occupancies
    used exclusively for religious worship with an occupant
    load not exceeding 500.
    (2) The ratio of trained crowd managers to occupants shall be
    permitted to be reduced where, in the opinion of the
    AHJ, the existence of an approved, supervised automatic
    sprinkler system and the nature of the event warrant.
    12.7.6.2* The crowd manager and crowd manager supervisor
    shall receive approved training in crowd management techniques.
    12.7.6.3 Duties and responsibilities for the crowd manager
    and crowd manager supervisor shall be documented within a
    written emergency plan as required by 12.7.13.
    12.7.6.4* The training for the duties and responsibilities of
    crowd managers shall include the following:
    (1) Understanding crowd manager roles and responsibilities
    (2) Understanding safety and security hazards that can endanger
    public assembly
    (3) Understanding crowd management techniques
    (4) Introduction to fire safety and fire safety equipment
    (5) Understanding methods of evacuation and movement
    (6) Understanding procedures for reporting emergencies
    (7) Understanding crowd management emergency response
    procedures
    (8) Understanding the paths of travel and exits, facility
    evacuation and emergency response procedures and,
    where provided, facility shelter-in-place procedures
    (9) Familiarization with the venue and guest services training
    (10) Other specific event-warranted training
    12.7.6.5 The training for the duties and responsibilities of
    crowd manager supervisors shall include the following:
    (1) The duties described in 12.7.6.4
    (2) Understanding crowd manager supervisor roles and responsibilities
    (3) Understanding incident management procedures
    (4) Understanding the facility evacuation plan
    (5) Understanding the facility command structure
    (7) Understanding crowd management emergency response
    procedures
    (8) Understanding the paths of travel and exits, facility
    evacuation and emergency response procedures and,
    where provided, facility shelter-in-place procedures
    (9) Familiarization with the venue and guest services training
    (10) Other specific event-warranted training
    12.7.6.5 The training for the duties and responsibilities of
    crowd manager supervisors shall include the following:
    (1) The duties described in 12.7.6.4
    (2) Understanding crowd manager supervisor roles and responsibilities
    (3) Understanding incident management procedures
    (4) Understanding the facility evacuation plan
    (5) Understanding the facility command structure

    The appendix note referenced above:

    A.12.7.6.2 Crowd managers and crowd manager supervisors
    need to clearly understand the required duties and responsibilities
    specific to the venue’s emergency plan. The crowd
    management training program should include a clear appreciation
    of crowd dynamics factors including space, energy,
    time, and information, as well as specific crowd management
    techniques, such as metering. Training should involve specific
    actions necessary during normal and emergency operations,
    and include an assessment of people-handling capabilities of a
    space prior to its use, the identification of hazards, an evaluation
    of projected levels of occupancy, the adequacy of means
    of ingress and egress and identification of ingress and egress
    barriers, the processing procedures such as ticket collection,
    and the expected types of human behavior. Training should
    also involve the different types of emergency evacuations and,
    where required by the emergency plan, relocation and shelterin-
    place operations, and the challenges associated with each.
     
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  16. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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    I worked at a large hotel that had a ballroom that could be broken into 16 separate rooms with airwalls or if wide open was 24' tall, 960' long and 137' wide.
    It had a house sound system but over the years of events coming through, even speaking events, they had learned the house sound sucked so would always opt for bringing in something. Either a ground stacked array, a dozen speakers on sticks or flown VRX.

    When the house sound was updated and sounded rather remarkable, the designer hid and aimed the speakers so they worked when the stage was on the South end of the ballroom, but any other orientation, the sound would seem to be coming from behind, to your left or to your right. So still, it was rarely used except for background music.

    In this case we could have 4-6k people and be using a PA separate from the fire alarm panel and the house PA would be turned off (because wall panels in any part of the hotel could activate any other part of the hotel and when the valet would turn the music on at 8pm for the club scene, once accidentally triggered it in the ballroom too during an event.

    In any case, what the fire marshall, architect, management and engineers design the building to do often has little impact on how the space is actually used. Emergency procedures should be planned for by those using the space and make sure they're able to improve the situation, not just check the legal boxes.
     
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  17. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    I think that is what the Life Safety Code acknowledges in requiring crowd managers that are there, assessing and adjusting operation in real time. Otherwise a computer could do it. Too many unique and unexpected things happen in crowds.
     
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